Find out if deadly gas is in your basement

WEST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – The deadly gas radon could be lurking in your home right now. The only way to know for sure is to test for it. Since January is Radon Action Month, you can get a test kit for free right now.

“Radon is a radioactive soil gas,” explained Erin Napoletano, the owner of Absolute Radon. “It comes from ledge. Anywhere there’s ledge rock, decaying rock.”

Napoletano said the action of your furnace and hot water heater draws airs into your basement, and the radon along with it. She uses high tech equipment to detect this very common, and very dangerous, gas.

“It is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States behind smoking,” Napoletano said.

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That’s why the state wants everyone to test their homes. You can do it yourself. Right now, the New Haven Health Department is offering free kits to New Haven residents. You can also order a free kit from the State Department of Public Health, as long as supplies last. You basically just hang it in the basement for a few days, then send it to the lab. Everything is pre-paid.

It does matter where you put the test. Keep it away from the furnace or unfinished areas.

“A finished basement level is usually the best area,” Napoletano said. “The area you spend the most time in.”

If you’ve never done a test, you should, no matter what kind of house you have.

“So, it’s very, very important, even if you don’t have a basement in your house, to check,” said Napoletano. “Just check any of the levels in your house if you’re concerned about it.”

She said that even a level of 4.0 is the health equivalent of smoking 8 cigarettes a day. If radon is there, an expert like Erin can get rid of it.

“We drill a hole in the slab of the basement and we pipe it out with PVC,” Napoletano said. “The PVC then goes out through the siding, and we attach a fan that is outside the building and exhausts the gas up and over the roof.”

You can make an appointment to pick up a test from the New Haven Health Department by calling (203) 946-8174 or (203) 946-8191. The department reminds everyone that this is also a good time to test your home for lead.

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